Sunday, March 8, 2009

Men's Basketball: Maryland vs Virginia

On Saturday Julie and I traveled to the campus of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville to report on the final men's basketball game of the 2008-2009 season for the Maryland Terrapins. Julie did an extensive pre-season review ofmen's basketballand also wrote up a couple ofgymnastics events for the DC Sports Box. She's also reported on a couple ofwrestling matches. She's also gotten involved with baseball recently. Her recent involvement with the DC Sports Box is really invigorating!

After working through some last-minute credential request issues we were both approved to attend the game. Julie wrote for the DC Sports Box while I shot for Inside the Shell. The travel time from College Park to Charlottesville VA is quite reasonable (2 hours) and the mileage is decent (126 miles from house to arena). John Paul Jones Arena is quite remarkable and the lighting is superb! I was able to shoot ISO 1600 (and even 1250 sometimes!) at 1/500th at f/3.5! Wow!

Although John Paul Jones Arena only seats 11,050 the venue is really nice. The brickwork, lighting, and scoreboard are top-notch. Several people I work with remarked on the scoreboard by saying "it looks like a little Verizon Center." The University of Virginia pulled out all the stops in building the John Paul Jones Arena and the experience really shows it.

It took about 8 minutes before the fog of the opening player introductions cleared and I could get a clean shot. However, once that fog cleaned up I was really happy with my exposures. ISO1600 through a 300mm at f/3.5 and 1/500th and I was properly exposed. Everything was great except for the venue officials.

The backstage Arena officials were polite and courteous while helping me find my way to the media room. However, the floor officials were typical - arrogant, condescending, and closed minded. I don't want to go into the details but I'll just say that I felt really unwelcome at the event, and that was surprising considering Virginia is 9-17 this season, the students are on Spring Break, and a lot of paid ticket holders were missing this evening.

However, the light was spectacular! ISO1600 at 1/500 at f/3.5 and I was sufficiently exposed! I needed a touch of lightening in post production but it was nothing like Comcast. In Comcast Center I'm at ISO2500 or 2500 at f/3.2 at 1/500th. It was very refreshing!

On the quick drive home both Julie and I got a chance to write our articles and post process our photos for publication. Driving up route 29 from the campus is dreadful and the timings of the lights are awful, but once you escape the greater Charlottesville area the drive is quite nice. I'm looking forward to next Fall's football game with the Wahoos and hopefully Julie will join me!


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